So many ideas, so much time. no wait, scratch that. Reverse it…

Hi guys,

I must say that there´s just a flurry of activity in the forums and resource areas for Torque these days. Maybe this is the norm, but I have to say that the Torque community is probably the most dedicated and live bunch that I´ve seen in a long time.

Anyways, I have a million ideas, thoughts, designs and plans now that I´ve got used to the engine, done my newb mods and tried to figure out how far I could push the engine. It´s a powerful little bugger and there´s just so much to do (including knock out a game somewhere). So here´s some topics that I´m going to be tackling in the coming months on Torque and try to get some things going in the community.

Newsletter

I found Matt Websters contribution to the Newsletter effort to be spectacular, spectacular. I also found it disheartening that there were only 3 issues and the last one was back in 2002. There´s a thread by Jay Moore over in the forums where he´s asking for input. I´m hoping to revitalize the newsletter effort with the help of other (more seasoned) players in the community.

Project Portal

There´s been discussions about hosting a projects portal, possibly at GG, for a complete home to Torque based projects for SDK owners. I´ve spoken to Jeff Tunnel about it and he seems pretty keen on the idea. I know there´s a project resource here, but I´m talking about a more full blown SourceForge type system where you can post design documents, task lists, bugs, forums, mailing lists, etc. all centered on your project. SourceForge is a great side (I have a few projects there) but it can only host Open Source projects so for commercial games that´s not an option. Having it hosted at GG would mean that project teams would have secured access to their project information as well as a collaborative area to work in. Hopefully we can make that a reality.

Torque Documentation Project

Most of the major players in the Torque space have some form of documentation going on with the engine. Either a tutorial on a subject or a complete newbie walkthrough. I find the information to be very useful, but there are so many threads of it out there. It´s taken me about a week just to piece some of them together and there´s multiple versions of the documentation efforts underway. I´m looking to consolidate that in a community based Wiki style site where you can go to get a single unified source for TGE documentation.

Tools Focus

As I stated in my profile, my main focus in community based efforts have been around tools. I write them at my job, I write them for the users, I write them for fun. I´m looking to do some work on the Torque tools, namely to both update and upgrade the existing tools with either fixes or new functionality as well as creating new tools where needed. Watch for new resources in this area from me.

Bots

A big thing with me is AI and bots are a way to get this into the Torque engine. Yes, there are several (great) resources for bots in the community now but the more the merrier. I´m looking to introduce some real AI to the system with bots that learn and hopefully become somewhat sentient (well, as much as they can be in a game engine). The goal is to have the best set of bots available as a plugin to the base engine that people can either use as-is or even build on.

Other engine mods

There are a few areas where I´d like to contribute new features or enhancing existing ones in the engine. Things like a complete, automated weather system; multiplayer enhancements like fireteams (mini teams within teams that are in direct contact with each other); plugin support for other popular game formats and sub-systems (with little or no code changes). Stuff like that.

Yes, all lofty ideas and we´ll see what becomes reality this time next year, but I´ll be around.

Bots, tools, bots and more bots (and more tools!)

So here I am posting my first .plan at GG. I purchased the engine about a week ago and have been consuming the code and scripts as much as possible, trying out things and generally acting like a newb. I think I´m comfortable now and it´s time to dive into the system.

I have a couple of interests that I´m going to pursue with Torque.

First and foremost, I´m a tool guy. I´ve written tools for games like MageSlayer, Doom, Half-Life, Quake and others. My current venture is about 30 tools written for The Sims which has consumed my life for the past few years. So now it´s time to turn my focus to Torque (and Torque 2). The tools are nice but could use some work. Some new features, documentation and GUI refab. I´m looking at doing some damage in this space so hopefully watch for contributions soon.

Secondly I love bots. My CS thesis in University, so many years ago, was Human AI systems so bots are just the next best thing (well, there´s Eliza but we won´t get into that here). Over the years I´ve studied the various bot code from games like Quake and Unreal Tournament and basically bots are getting better and better. The Torque bots can only improve from here.

There have been several contributions to the bot base here and I´m glad it´s alive and thriving. I´m just starting to fork my engine code to support the real-time support that some people have put together and looking at modularizing my own code so I might be able to offer a script driven (with some C++ changes) bot engine. Lots of fun stuff to do here and will give me both a chance to prove myself with the Torque engine and contribute something back to the community.

That´s about it for now. Time to head off to a Microsoft conference then it´s back to my happy Athlon at home to fire up yet another Torque bot adventure…